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Subject: simultaneous play rss

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Pat Connolly
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Zephyrhills
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It seems that going first can be a big advantage. Not only do you get to see the contest resource - I see that as your lookouts have seen what's coming - but you get to do everything first. Maybe not a big advantage early in the game, but later when mercenaries start to run out ... And going last can be a big advantage in skirmishes by seeing how many cards others have dedicated.

I see the world of AS as tribes living in close proximity, keeping a close eye on each other in the quest for survival. Definitely not waiting patiently for their turn to dig through the junkyard or recruit the mercs who wander into the vicinity.

In this idea I'm trying to reward how much you're willing to devote to a particular task, and not just where you sit relative to the initiator. I also hope to add some thematic tension by mimicing the uncertainty and chaos of this apocalyptc world. Throw in some need for tactical planning on how you hope to use your resources each turn. And, as a bonus, maybe decrease downtime by having players act simultaneously.

How does this sound as a thematic alternate to the turn order?

(1) The initiator peeks at the top CR card - that's your lookouts seeing what's coming in from your sector of control- plays whatever draw actions desired (calling out reinforcements) and declares how many cards are being dedicated to the skirmish and sets these cards aside. Other players then play their draw actions simultaneously and set their skirmish cards aside.
(2) Players then secretly and simultaneously form their remaining cards into groups dedicated to the various remaining actions for the turn. Cards to be trashed are set aside, but not put into the junkyard until the end of the turn - they were taken to the junkyard by the diggers and just left behind.
(3) Once the work groups are all assembled, they are all revealed. The order in which the various tribes perform each action is based on the resources they've dedicated to the action. Ties are broken by population of the group, with clockwise from the initiator as the ultimate tie-breaker. As an example, Tribe A sends 3 digs to the junkyard and a combined 4 food/med to recruit, while tribe B sends 2 digs and 5 food/med, and tribe C sends 5 digs and 2 food/med.
(a) At the junkyard, the order is C-A-B. C grabs the top 5 cards, then A grabs the next 3, then B grabs the next 2 or less if the junkyard gets depleted. Discarded items are not returned to the junkyard until after all tribes are done digging and have a chance to evaluate their finds and find out who the recruiters are bringing to camp. Basically, you've all staked out areas of the junkyard and are scavenging at the same time so no other group would be able to get what you found even though you can still only take one item back to camp. If the other tribes brought so many digs that you don't get your full allotment of digs this turn - well it's dog-eat-dog in the apocalyptic junkyard and maybe you should have brought a bigger dog.
(b) Not all mercs will be available for recruitment at the 'hire-a-merc employment center'. After all, who really knows what wandering mercs you may find when you go out to recruit? Mercs are placed into a single deck and a set number, maybe number of tribes + 2, are drawn from the top of this deck as available-for-hire. The hiring order is B-A-C. Maybe you brought enough to hire that scout that you were wanting, but B went first and hired her - maybe you can work a deal or should have brought something extra as an added incentive to join your tribe. "We know you only need 2 food, but look at all the food and medicine our tribe has to offer." Maybe you didn't send enough to entice any of the mercs to join you - life's tough out there and you weren't ready for it, so you lose out. You could mimic the desperation of these wandering mercs by allowing available mercs who cannot be hired by any of the recruiting tribes to sell their services to (be hired by) a tribe which is 1 food or med short of the normal recruitment cost. This does not apply if a tribe could have, but chose not to, recruit a merc since they would still have hope of being recruited later by a tribe which they know could fuflill their needs.
(4) Skirmish resolution.
(5) Prep for next turn. Return untaken scavenged items, trashed items, and a possible tied-skirmish CR card to the junkyard deck and shuffle. It's a junkyard and not a neat, rotate the stock store. Return all unrecruited mercs to the merc deck and shuffle. These are wandering mercenaries and are not going to stand patiently in line in the cold, waiting to be taken in by a tribe.

Ideally I would have the diggers and recruiters work independently, without knowledge of what the other had found, but that's not really possible (you could if you had 2-player teams with 1 as the digger and 1 as the recruiter, but ...) so we'll just imagine that the two groups have radios and can say "we found a shovel and a spear, which should we keep?" and "we recruited a scout, grab the spear."

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Patty Pilf
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patcon wrote:
It seems that going first can be a big advantage. Not only do you get to see the contest resource - I see that as your lookouts have seen what's coming - but you get to do everything first. Maybe not a big advantage early in the game, but later when mercenaries start to run out ... And going last can be a big advantage in skirmishes by seeing how many cards others have dedicated.


So what if someone were to put forward 4 cards for the skirmish, and you played all 5 to beat them. But on reveal it turns out they had a handful of shovels and medkits for a Skirmish total of 0. You've obviously bet them with your team of people, but you've wasted your entire hand to their bluff, believing they were putting forward a strong fight! You could've used less cards, and used them to do other things besides.

Maybe the Contested Resource is crap, and again player 1 throws in a lot of crap cards fooling you into thinking you're fighting for something of great importance.

Bluffing in the skirmish is one of the key elements of AS.
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Pat Connolly
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AntandBeeandtheABC wrote:
So what if someone were to put forward 4 cards for the skirmish, and you played all 5 to beat them. But on reveal it turns out they had a handful of shovels and medkits for a Skirmish total of 0. You've obviously bet them with your team of people, but you've wasted your entire hand to their bluff, believing they were putting forward a strong fight! You could've used less cards, and used them to do other things besides.

Maybe the Contested Resource is crap, and again player 1 throws in a lot of crap cards fooling you into thinking you're fighting for something of great importance.

Bluffing in the skirmish is one of the key elements of AS.

I agree that bluffing for the skirmish is a key element. The bluff really comes from the initiator, who knows what's there. Maybe game balance comes from the advantage of knowing or geting an earlier choice of merc or dig being balanced by having to reveal your skirmish intentions. But there's still the issue of players sitting around, waiting for their turn.

How about this as a way to really pump up the bluffing factor?
(1) The initiator peeks at the top CR card - that's your lookouts seeing what's coming in from your sector of control- then plays whatever draw actions desired (calling out reinforcements) and declares how many cards are being dedicated to the skirmish and sets these cards aside. Other players then play their draw actions simultaneously and set their skirmish cards aside. Then, starting from the initiator and working clockwise, each player who is sending skirmishers gets to raise the stakes by adding more cards to the skirmish or passing. Once you pass you're done, but you can re-raise until everybody passes. Basically you're saying "we better send more guys" or "we're good with what we're sending" before sending off the skirmishers.

On a thematic note, I don't quite see how a tribe sends a tool to a skirmish without somehow to carry it. Maybe a kid carries it? Maybe there ought to be a risk to sending tools without an adult to keep it safe? (OK, the feral kid with the boomerang in Mad Max is pretty formidable, but he would really be a scavenger in the world of AS, not a kid.) Maybe the tribes with people at the skirmish get to take your stuff, or maybe your stuff gets left behind and ends up in the junkyard? If you went this route you'd probably want to allow a tribe to leave unusable tool cards unplayed, rather than just throwing them into the skirmish.
Or do the rules as they stand act as a balance for when you get that crap hand of 3 shovels and 2 spears and no people to use them, so you use them to try to get others to waste their cards, but then only if you're not the last player?

As you can probably tell, I'm really into the theme of this game.
 
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Robert K Gabhart
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Keller
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patcon wrote:
On a thematic note, I don't quite see how a tribe sends a tool to a skirmish without somehow to carry it.


My rationale has always been that you are 'staging' your intent to go for the skirmish. So you strategically position some crates, dig some sled tracks in the snow, setup a tent, erect a decoy and dress it up, etc. and you use the tools to accomplish all of these activities. When, in point of fact, you had NO intention of going for the skirmish. You just wanted it to appear that way. In reality, you were making a run for the junkyard or aiming to hire that cool mercenary that rolled into the area.

patcon wrote:
As you can probably tell, I'm really into the theme of this game.


Glad to see it! :-)
 
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